Swiss roads are clogged and the government is looking for new ways to make traffic run more smoothly. One idea is to cut the speed on certain stretches during periods of peak traffic, potentially to as low as 60 km/h.
Currently, speeds are temporarily reduced from 120 km/h to 100 km/h and 80 km/h when certain stretches of motorway are overloaded. This system is already being used on 400 kms of Swiss motorway.
According to Le Matin, FEDRO, Switzerland’s federal roads agency, thinks it has a solution to reduce Switzerland’s motorway gridlock further: equip 1,600 kms of motorway with electronic speed signs between now and 2026. Tests have already been run and the results are positive.
Across Switzerland, there are 30,000 hours of traffic delays a year, mainly due to excess traffic. Given the scale of delays, FEDRO is considering adding a new lower speed of 60km/h as part of its gridlock busting measures. Other measures under consideration include closing certain on-ramps at peak times. Another measure already used in places, like the entrance to the Gotthard tunnel, are lights that intermittently stop vehicles to improve the smooth flow of traffic beyond the lights. This same system is also used in Basel to regulate the flow of traffic onto motorways at peak times.
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That makes it worse, not better. Cars need longer to reach their destination, so more cars on the road, plus anytime a 120km turns 60 area you get abrupt speed reduction (which is exactly how traffic jams start in the first place) that have a ripple effect into the 120km area.